How we approach a content audit
First, we will always determine an objective for the audit in line with your business goals. For most new clients, the objective will usually be to create an action plan for improvements and identify any gaps. If the whole site needs reviewing, it’s best to approach his in stages.
Using a structured approach means that we can spend the time really understanding the content on each page, rather than just creating a directory by types of page and looking for gaps. We can dive deep enough into your content to uncover insightful, actionable recommendations to improve the performance of your website.
So, what do we look for in a content audit and why?
Content spread across the funnel
Something we see often, is brands creating lots of great bottom-of-the-funnel content. This content is frequently very product-focused.
While shouting about the benefits of your products is important, you run the risk of neglecting all the top-of-the-funnel content which will actually drive brand awareness and bring you traffic.
The aim of top-of-the-funnel content is to reach a wide pool of potential customers and make them aware of your expertise. This builds trust. So, when they’re looking for a company that provides your product or service, your name is in their mind.
The best format for top-of-the-funnel content will depend on your business and approach. However, there are many popular examples to consider, including:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media
- Influencer and outreach campaigns
- Video marketing
- Online ads
Top-of-the-funnel content in action
We’ve implemented this strategy for one of our clients, Lexham Insurance, who provide insurance to owners of scooters, motorbikes and classic cars.
Since teaming up with us in 2016, they have invested heavily in their content marketing activities, emphasising brand awareness through new, top-of-the-funnel content.
We’ve broadened out the topics their blog covers and invested in producing quality, insightful content. Campaigns about the cost of commuting, the best motovloggers to follow and investing in classic cars have all been successful in driving relevant traffic and gaining links.
Content written in collaboration with influencers has been particularly successful and we’ve secured coverage in The Telegraph, The Sun, Yahoo, Huffington Post and industry sites such as ScooterLab and British Dealer News.
With this content-led approach the main focus for 2018, we’ve achieved the following results vs 2017:
- 65% increase in organic sessions
- 33% increase in quotations
Increased brand awareness = more traffic = more conversions = £££
Another issue that we see a lot is overlapping content. Often, people are very knowledgeable about one particular subject. So, they’ll write about it over and over again in different ways, rather than writing about a broader range of topics.
Over time this causes keyword cannibalisation — when pages on your site are competing with each other in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google won’t know which page is the most relevant for a user’s search query if you have multiple pages that answer the same question.
This will push down the rankings of each of these pages. Focusing on fewer areas also restricts the keywords your site will rank for.
Fixing this can be another quick win. Consolidating or merging your pages will stop them competing with one another and improve their authority for your targeted query.
For our client, British Assessment Bureau, we removed 58% of their blog posts following a content audit. The rest were merged, edited or updated as they were either thin or competing for the same query.
We’re already seeing some impressive results from this activity. Quote form conversions increased significantly – up 29% year-on-year and the top 10 landing pages in Q3 2018 grew by an average of 98% year-on-year.
Ultimately, it was a content audit which revealed how we could significantly improve results for this client. Sometimes, reworking what you have is a quick win to kick off your content marketing efforts.
Topic spread and relevance
Traditional keyword research for SEO is on its way out. The way people search online has changed, and so Google’s algorithm has adapted to reflect this.
Organising your content by topic helps Google to understand the relationship between pages and build your authority around topics related to your industry — not just for fragmented keywords.
A content audit will help you to understand what topics you are covering well, and where there are opportunities for improvement. By identifying gaps, you can focus your content production on covering these topics.
We’ll often cross-reference our findings with a keyword gap analysis of your competitors to see where you may only be slightly behind on a topic. You can then focus your content on making you an authority in that particular area.
We also recommend that our clients take a content cluster approach to linking their content — identifying or creating a core ‘pillar page’ and creating subpages around this topic. This makes it clear to Google that your pillar page is the most important on the topic, helping it to rank.
Low-quality content can seriously impact your rankings and it’s also a conversion killer. Content should be valuable, relevant, and easy to scan. It should be created around the subjects that you are an expert in and you need to add something new to the conversation — whether it’s your opinion, experience or some data you’ve unearthed.
Creating poor content will often do more harm than good. Not only will it undo any trust you’ve built with your audience, but Google is getting better at refining its algorithm to understand who the real topical experts are.
A recent survey found that 30% of business leaders removed a company for consideration after engaging with poor quality thought-leadership content. Getting content wrong could actually lose you business, even if you’ve got in front of the right people.
We're not just talking about poor blog content here. If your products or services pages are overwhelming or full of errors, you’ll see your conversions struggle. If we think this is the area that will get you the best ROI, we can focus a content audit on these pages and recommend improvements.
For Google to understand how all of your pages relate to one another, your site architecture is key. If important content is deeply buried in the hierarchy of your site - or is infrequently linked to - Google will assume it is less important.
We can investigate whether your site structure is holding back the success of your content marketing efforts. Issues with site structure can prevent your content being found, make it difficult for Google to crawl and index, or cause it to appear lower down in the search results than you would like.
If we think your site structure is holding you back, we might recommend a full SEO technical audit to get to the root of the problem.
A content audit is the best way to take stock of how your website content is performing. It allows you to identify areas for improvement and plug any gaps.
Content is key, not just to your rankings, but to moving your customers through the sales funnel from a customer being aware of your brand to making a purchase. For this reason, a content audit is an essential starting point for any online marketing campaign.